Massive explosion in Beirut
- Posted By
7th Aug, 2020
- The catastrophic explosion at Beirut port on August 4 was caused by over 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate kept in storage for over six years.
- In its pure form, ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) is a white, crystalline chemical which is soluble in water.
- It is the main ingredient in the manufacture of commercial explosives used in mining and construction.
- It is a common chemical ingredient of agricultural fertilisers.
- It is also the main component of the explosive composition known as ANFO — ammonium nitrate fuel oil.
- In India, its usage is regulated as per The Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012, under The Explosives Act, 1884.
- The rules also make storage of ammonium nitrate in large quantities in populated areas illegal in India.
- An ammonium nitrate explosion produces massive amounts of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen dioxide (NO?) is a red, bad-smelling gas.
- It can irritate the respiratory system. Elevated levels of these pollutants are particularly concerning for people with respiratory conditions.